The Witchery by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									The Witchery
Author: James Reese

New York Times bestselling author James Reese has been praised for his lush and evocative prose, his
bold exploration of illicit sexuality, his deft handling of historical settings, and his extraordinary rendering
of the supernatural. His novels are sumptuous trips back in time to an era filled with unforgettable
characters, human strife, and emotions that transcend time. Now, in his most imaginative book to date,
Reese takes the witch Herculine on a voyage that will test her in every way, elevating her from the depths
of despair to triumph.In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, Herculine is summoned from self-
imposed exile by her teacher, the witch Sebastiana d'Azur, and told to sail from the Florida territory to
Havana. There she is to search out one Queverdo Brù—a cruel and demonic man whose house holds
terrible secrets—to learn of a certain "surprise." But lies and truths conspire to separate Herculine from
those she loves, and she finds herself alone with Brù, who sees in her something he has long sought, 
and now seeks to use, harshly, as he practices that most ancient of arts: alchemy.Escaping Brù, 
Herculine sails from Havana, knowing Sebastiana is near. In the Florida Keys, she reunites with her and
meets her "surprise"—the shocking product of a forbidden encounter ten years prior. Surviving an Indian
attack on a sparsely settled key, Herculine and family decamp to Key West. There they set out to make
their fortune—by means magical or otherwise—as Herculine is tested at every turn by the harsh
landscape and haunted by thoughts of her own demise.With The Witchery, James Reese brings to a
close a remarkable trilogy—a story told by a character who "invades our consciousness" (Tampa Tribune)
and set in "the heady atmosphere of a bygone era brought deftly to life" (Eric Van Lustbader). Spanning
decades ravaged by war, disease, and ideals that tore a nation apart, Herculine's ultimately triumphant
struggle is both a universal one—marked by love, loss, fear, and regret—and yet quite particular, as told
by one of the most inventive novelists working today.

It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded by many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed
the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous
sadness. —Shakespeare, As You Like ItWhat a sight: Havana Harbor seen by late daylight.I remember it
well; for indeed we arrived at sunset, and sadly heard it told that we hadn't time to enter the harbor before
dark. This the firing cannons of the Morro Castle made clear: the harbor, indeed the city itself, was closed
till next the sun rose. It was slight consolation hearing our captain opine that it was just as well, that the
harbor would be too crowded to navigate at night. And so we found a good offing within sight of the
Morro's walls, near enough to hear the bells of the city count out the quarter hours; and there we lay off
and on all night, tacking in accord with the winds and the water.For hours I'd watched the silver-green isle
of Cuba rising from the blue, ever more anxious yet knowing not that the Athée—aboard which we'd sailed
from Savannah—was racing the setting sun. Had I known this, had I known that each evening the Morro's
cannons announced that crepuscular closing of the harbor and city, I'd have been sick from nervous
upset; for though I'd been sent to Havana, I had only the vaguest notion of what, of who I'd find
there.Would Sebastiana d'Azur—my discoverer, my Soror Mystica, who'd absented herself for so long,
who'd cast away her courtly renown after the Revolution and retired to her crumbling chateau upon the
Breton shore— . . . would Sebastiana herself be there? Who was the "we" of whom the aged witch had
written so cryptically? We have a surprise for you, said the letter sent to me in St. Augustine. Would I
have to face again Sebastiana's consort: the man, the menace, the faux demon Asmodei? He who'd
hated me from first sight. He who'd sought to harm me. Oh, but Sebastiana's absence had surprised me
once before, had it not? In New York. In years past. When I—so deeply needful, so lost—had gone
thither, as again she'd directed, by post, only to find yet another epistle apologizing for her absence and
consigning me to the care of a houseful of whoring witches. (Mistake me not, sister: I loved the Cyprians,
and still mourn their loss and the dissolution of the Duchess's House of Delights.) More likely I, nay,
we—yes: I had a companion aboard the Athée— . . . more likely we would walk alone among the
Havanans with no clue but one: Somewhere in the city there lived a monk whom Sebastiana, in her
directing letter, had identified by the single initial Q.And so, though I knew not what, or who I would find in
Havana, still I hoped to find such things fast. Thus, each wave separating the schooner Athée from its 
mooring in Havana Harbor was a hated thing. . . . But mark, for so it was the case: the waves had been
few as we approached over the Straits, and our six-day sail from Savannah had been smooth, too smooth
and slow: often we'd been becalmed, and had lain in want of wind.Finally, finally all aboard knew the sight
of the Pan de Matanzas—that Cuban mountain molded by a great hand in mimicry of a loaf of bread—and
nearer, nearer there could be seen sown fields of cane and coffee bordered by tall, wind-waltzing palms.
Nearer still, and the lighthouse could be discerned in detail, so, too, the forts of the Morro and Punta
flanking the harbor's entrance: like fists of stone they...
Author Bio
James Reese
James Reese has held various jobs in the nonprofit sector, working on behalf of the arts and the
environment. He lives in South Florida and Paris, France.www.jamesreesebooks.comVisit for exclusive information on your favorite HarperCollins author.

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